PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) Injection

Posted by: michael_d

PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) Injection - 10/09/11 05:40 PM


I'm going to have this done in a couple weeks and was looking for some feedback from others who may have had this done, and to also make anyone who has not heard of this aware of it.

I've been struggling with tendinitis for over two years now. It's in my elbow, both inner and outer. I'm going to try the outer first, see how that goes over the next few months, then do the inner if it works. The shots are about $1500 each and insurance is not really on board with it yet. So yours may cover it, or not. Mine does not....bummer.

I stumbled onto this from a local DR who has been conducting a clinical study on this process. The study was completed last spring and it has FDA approval.

In short, blood is drawn from you, put onto a centrifuge to separate the Platelets and white blood cells from the red blood cells. The affected area is then injected with your own blood. The theory is to give the injury a super concentrated does of you bloods own healing properties. The doctor I'm going to has had great results. They can treat tendinitis, muscle tears, achilles, planters fasciitis, cartilage repair (like knees) and who knows what else.

It's pretty interesting stuff and worth consideration for those of you who may have need of something like this this. It may be another option than going under the knife. Just Google PRP if interested.
Posted by: Da_Gimp_Pimp

Re: PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) Injection - 10/09/11 08:12 PM

Mike, I hadn't heard of it until now. I did a quick Google search of "Platelet-Rich Plasma study", and this one showed up. Maybe the results are something to heed.

Just passing along information, I don't want you to take it as personal criticism. If you go through with the procedure, I do hope it works for you.

FDA approval definitely isn't anything to have faith in, either smile .
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) Injection - 10/10/11 11:53 AM

Good luck, Mike. The older I get, the less convinced I am that scientists already know everything there is to be known; this concept particularly affects modern western medicine to the exclusion of other therapies. I hope that you get some relief, and that you will feel comfortable sharing the results.
Posted by: michael_d

Re: PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) Injection - 10/10/11 01:41 PM

That's a side to the story I had not heard before Cam. Thanks for sharing. Disappointing, but another data point to consider. Unfortunately, I've had this for over two years and the normal non surgical things have not helped. I actually found out about when getting a second opinion before going under the knife. Tom I'll definitely relay the results afterwards. If it does work, I want others to know it does. Tendinitis sucks big time. I can't put my seat belt on or shake hands. Can't even pick up a book without pain. And this is something that just working through the pain to recovery only makes it worse (as I did that).
Posted by: Ajax

Re: PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) Injection - 10/10/11 02:32 PM

Soory to hear about your condition, Mike. I know how debilitating constant pain can be (rheumatoid arthritis - currently, seeminly in remission, thank heaven). Hope you find something, anything, that works for you.
Posted by: Da_Gimp_Pimp

Re: PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) Injection - 10/10/11 02:50 PM

I did read a post by someone that also has tendonitis, and the one caveat not mentioned by their doctor beforehand, is that it's an extremely painful injection. They continued to say that if/or when they are going to get another treatment, they're definitely talking pain killers ahead of time.
Posted by: michael_d

Re: PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) Injection - 10/10/11 04:08 PM

Thanks Jack. I'm paying for the sins of my youth I suppose. Never thought I'd live this long.

Ya I've been warned that it's a painful process Cam. They inject the area, not just one single shot. The theory is to get the plasma inside the damaged area to stimulate growth. In a sense, the tendon is dead and this stimulates new growth. The other method (surgery) consists of separating the tendon fibers with a scalpel, or cutting out the dead part and re-attaching it.
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) Injection - 10/10/11 04:59 PM

Ewwww.

I've had tennis elbow and such, and it sucks.

Good luck with it Michael!
Posted by: Murph

Re: PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) Injection - 10/11/11 09:25 AM

My only input is as a former regular plasma donor. While I'm sure your procedure is slightly different, there may be similarities in the tech. I didn't read any links so I am only commenting on what i know about plasma donation.

While not wanting to scare any potential donors as the risk is small, there is a danger inherent to the process due to the anti-coagulant. Basically, a donation consists of the following. You get hooked into a machine with a needle MUCH larger than that used for blood donation. The machine is fully automated and it withdraws a portion of blood and puts it into a centrifuge. The blood is spun to separate the red blood cells from the plasma. The plasma is retained and the process is reversed and the red blood cells are injected back into the body with a certain amount of anti-coagulant as the pure red blood cells require it now that the plasma is gone.

The very small but present danger is if the anti-coagulant mixture goes wrong for whatever reason, too much can put you into a seizure. The phlebotomists are highly trained to monitor the machine and watch for the symptoms but if not caught early, it can result in death.

Again, the risk is very small but it happens on occasion. I witnessed a seizure during one of my donations and the staff caught it quickly but did not catch it before he went into seizure as I can attest that he did not display the early symptoms as per normal. He went from a hearty normal conversation to a complete seizure in a few seconds. He was fine once they treated him on sight.

I'm sure the donation process differs greatly for your procedure but their may be similarities to be discussed with your doctor. I went back to blood donations because I have O-Neg. blood and therefore a more valuable use of draining my body. However, I would still recommend plasma donation as a much needed way to save lives. Just always important to be educated of the risks, however small.
Posted by: jakewash

Re: PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) Injection - 10/15/11 01:38 AM

I will be waiting to hear about your results should you decide to continue on this path.

I too have been dealing with tendonitis in my elbows for years, at one time I tried deep massage therapy which worked some magic for me. This brought me into a pain threshold which I never knew existed, but after a few weeks of twice weekly hell, my arms came back to life. I think I might have to try it again as I too am preently dealing with a bad bout of it once again, I can't even bend it enough to scratch the side of my head some days.
Posted by: grunt

Re: PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) Injection - 10/15/11 02:29 AM

Iím sure those of you with tendon problems have probably tried everything already but I still thought Iíd share whatís been working for me. I started developing bad tendon pain in my forearm tendons at my elbows from what seemed to be a combination of lifting heavy weights and using a regular mouse. Switching to a vertical mouse helped a lot and started doing high rep (20-25 reps) on Lat Pulls going nice and slow to get the blood flowing through that area. Though itís taken awhile I am now back up to doing bodyweight Chin Ups without any pain during or post exercise. Note that Iím not fully healed though since I can push on the tendons and feel discomfort, but so far the high rep stuff seems to be working.
Posted by: jakewash

Re: PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) Injection - 10/15/11 02:39 AM

Blood flow does appear to be key in the healing process.
Posted by: Da_Gimp_Pimp

Re: PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) Injection - 10/15/11 05:49 PM

Originally Posted By: jakewash
Blood flow does appear to be key in the healing process.


That's what I tell the ladies.
Posted by: richeydog

Re: PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) Injection - 10/15/11 06:28 PM

Originally Posted By: Powertothepeople
[quote=jakewash]Blood flow does appear to be key in the healing process.


Originally Posted By: Powertothepeople
That's what I tell the ladies.


Injection is nice but I'd rather be blown.
Posted by: Da_Gimp_Pimp

Re: PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) Injection - 10/15/11 07:20 PM

Originally Posted By: richeydog
Originally Posted By: Powertothepeople
[quote=jakewash]Blood flow does appear to be key in the healing process.


Originally Posted By: Powertothepeople
That's what I tell the ladies.


Injection is nice but I'd rather be blown.


To the point of projection...
Posted by: fhw

Re: PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) Injection - 10/15/11 09:08 PM

The big risk with just about any treatment for pain (whether it's back pain, migraines, plantar fasciitis, and everything in between) is that most of them have placebo effects upwards of 40%. For example, the following randomized trial:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21602565 (links to abstract)
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20068208

found that PRP made no difference compared with placebo either during the trial or at one-year follow-up, and 60% of participants in both groups were happy with their results.

I would guess that $1500 isn't much less than a consult with a dedicated sports medicine specialist, even in the U.S. It might be a wiser investment
Posted by: michael_d

Re: PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) Injection - 12/21/11 07:15 PM

Well I finally got around to submitting to this torture. It was either give this a try or go under the knife. My tendons were so damaged, therapy would not help. The proceedure doesn't take long, but boy it didn't feel good. The DR used two ring finger sized syringes to numb the areas around the tendons (not the affected injection zone). This in itself was pretty painful. Then he drove the PRP injection into the tendons at numerous places. Each time he would inject the stuff, he would move the needle back and forth (while in the tendon) to open up the tendon. I felt all of it. I have to stay in a sling for five days, then I can not lift or strain for five weeks. I'm supposed to stretch the tendons and apply light resistance four time a day. After five weeks I can start light resistance work outs. Before I committed, I asked the DR what to do if this didn't work. He simply replied that I had a much better chance of a complete recovery doing this than I would with surgery. Considering he also performs surgery, I thought that was pretty honest input. I also asked about all the other things that some doctors are using PRT injections for, and he didn't think very highly of them, and that in his experience, the proceedure works for tendons, but was not as confident for other injured body parts. Now I need to figure out what the heck to keep myself busy with for the next few weeks. Damn I'm bored... Stoned and sleepy too...Codeine every four hours till the pain subsides. Tried to go without it today and found out that wasn't such a good idea.
Posted by: Da_Gimp_Pimp

Re: PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) Injection - 12/21/11 10:15 PM

Hope you have positive results, Mike. Good luck!
Posted by: jakewash

Re: PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) Injection - 12/21/11 10:26 PM

Good luck and I hope it works for you, if it does I might have to give it a try myself although I am not sure how I could still my job if the recovery is that long.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) Injection - 12/22/11 01:14 AM

Hope you feel better (than ever) soon, Mike. I am glad you gave us an update.
Posted by: Murph

Re: PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) Injection - 12/22/11 07:15 AM

Good luck Mike. Resist temptations to speed things along (that's always my hardest battle) and keep us posted.
Posted by: grunt

Re: PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) Injection - 12/22/11 08:39 AM

I hope this works out for you Michael. I apologize if Iíve asked before and forgotten but how did your tendons get so bad?

Iím more than a little interested in your progress just in case I end up screwing up my tendons more by lifting. I Iíve been trying some new exercise and massage therapy that seems to be helping but only time will tell.
Posted by: terzaghi

Re: PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) Injection - 12/22/11 08:45 AM

Good luck with your recovery
Posted by: cb919

Re: PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) Injection - 12/22/11 08:59 AM

Originally Posted By: michael_d
... Now I need to figure out what the heck to keep myself busy with for the next few weeks. Damn I'm bored... Stoned and sleepy too...


How about you boost your post count with drug induced ramblings? grin

Seriously, I hope the recovery goes well and you come out of it all new and improved.
Posted by: St_PatGuy

Re: PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) Injection - 12/22/11 09:46 AM

Michael, I hope your recovery goes well.
Posted by: GOD

Re: PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) Injection - 12/22/11 11:17 AM

Michael, I think you did the right thing. Those medical "choices" are always difficult. As someone who completely understands those situations, if something is offered that is new to you, and all else has failed, go for it.

Your descriptions of the pain confirm that it was severely interfering with your quality of life--always the main issue.

I sincerely hope that you regain your former function, but now without pain. And if there's post-procedure physical therapy involved, do yourself a big favor and don't skip days here and there.

And your recovery will (seem to) go much more quickly if you continue taking the codeine---with cocktails.
Posted by: michael_d

Re: PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) Injection - 12/22/11 01:55 PM

Thanks for the kind words fellas.

Jay - the five week recovery of "no heavy lifting" was meant for me. I've been body building for roughly 30 years. He told me I could go back to work as soon as I get off the pain meds, but to just take it easy. You are a mechanic right? That would be tough. You wouldn't be able to wrestle tires around or swing a 5# hammer when replacing ball joints. But one thing to keep in mind, is that the recovery for surgery is even longer. The best option is to simply take care of yourself and when you start feeling pain in the elbow tendons, go see a doctor. This is not an injury that you can just work through.

Dean - I am insatiably determined (stubborn). 'No pain, no gain' and 'stop being a pussy' were my motto's for decades. It worked mostly, but with tendons, it just makes the injury worse to try and push through it. Between heavy lifting in the gym, over doing it at work when I was wrenching and building things (not asking for help moving things), and thinking I was invincible is what got me here. Prior to my decline three years ago, I would pyramid up to 405 on flat bench (four reps) and work up to 75 pound dumbbell curls. For your reference, I'm 5'10" and weighed 205 with a pretty low body fat less then 8. So as you continue to put on weight and get stronger in your own routine (as you undoubtedly will), make sure you warm up with plenty of light reps first, avoid max reps of less than 3, and when you start feeling pain from the weight, stop! You can tell the difference between tendons and muscle. In my case, I felt the pain, but didn't pay attention to it until it got too bad. Another thing that probably contributed to my injury is that I would never do forearm workouts. I figured that with my day to day life of working with my hands, and all the other griping exercises I was doing, I didn't need to work forearms. I now see that was a mistake. If you at least do over and under wrist curls, you will work the tendons and make them stronger. Just make sure to stretch on the negative.
Posted by: grunt

Re: PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) Injection - 12/22/11 03:19 PM

Thanks for the explanation and advice Michael. I too am stubborn about working out. Perhaps addicted is a better word. I also have been making the mistake of not doing forearm work thinking that just heavy lifting was enough to improve grip strength. However, the more I read the more I realize the error in my ways.

Recently Iíve started doing the following. Finger extension exercises, the opposite of gripping, to balance out my forearm work. I do them whenever I think about it like in my car using the cup holders while sitting in traffic. Iím also doing very deep hard massaging of my forearm muscles, well all my muscles now, and especially my tendons. I just started doing reverse wrist curls. I now use straps for all pulling lifts except when doing max Deadlifts. Iím also doing tonnes of light weight Curls and Lat Pulls to work blood into my muscles and tendons. So far it seems to be working as I can now do Pull-Ups and Chin-Ups without the tendon pain being the limiting factor. My biggest problem is that patience is not my strong suit when it comes to personal goals.
Posted by: jakewash

Re: PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) Injection - 12/22/11 09:02 PM

Good memory, I am a mechanic.

Seems like we 3 make/have made the same mistake in the gym and I am sure we are not the only ones, throw in 20+ years as a mechanic and the forearms get no rest. I also lived th elife of "No Pain No gain" and worked through far too many injuries. I am able to keep my extremely painful days to a minimum with stretches I do so I am not quite ready to push for this procedure....yet.

I hope I can start lifting again this winter now that my basement is done and my parents have moved in. I know I am going to have take it excruciatingly slow, hardest thing to do when you can remember lifting soo much heavier.

Best of luck Michael.
Posted by: onn

Re: PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) Injection - 12/23/11 07:54 AM

Wishing you a speedy recovery Michael!